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Liz Weston: How to make it greener at the next garage sale

A successful garage sale requires hours of preparation and a lot of effort. So is the failed sale. I have both types and can confidently say that the money-making version is better.

If you’re ready to take advantage of the warm climate and tidying opportunities, consider these tips gathered from experts (and bitter experiences) to make a good sale.

Determine your goals

First, consider whether a garage sale is the right way for your goals. Garage sales and their cousins ​​(garage sales, real estate, moving, tag sales) help you get rid of things and collect cash. But you can’t expect to get the best dollars.

If making money is your priority and you have time to wait for the buyer, consider offering more valuable items elsewhere. Check out auction sites such as eBay. Apps such as Letgo and OfferUp. Platforms such as Craigslist, Nextdoor, Facebook Marketplace. Even consignment stores and pawn shops.

If you just want to get things out of your house, donating unwanted items is usually the fastest and easiest option. (You will only get a tax deduction for your donation if you are one of the few people to itemize the deduction item.)

If your goals are relatively balanced (a few hours of work require more space and money), a garage sale may be your best option.

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Consider joining at least one other household that can donate helpers and things for your sale. Shoppers want to see a wide variety of products. There is a reason why the headline “Apartment Sales” is used in many garage sale ads. — And the whole experience is much more enjoyable with friends.

Chris Heiska, who has been running the yardsalequeen.com site since 1996, says tools, kitchen gadgets, sporting goods and camping equipment are the most attractive. Items that normally do not sell: Items that are broken or heavily soiled. Outdated technology can be a hit or a mistake. Our friend couldn’t find a VCR tape or Princess Phone taker. However, vinyl records can be a hot seller.

Expect to spend hours collecting, sorting and pricing items. Pricing is essential — many people won’t ask how much something will cost, so without stickers you’ll lose sales, says Hiska. You can find a list of suggested garage sale prices online or check out other sales in your area. In doubt, Heiska offers one-fourth to one-third the price of a new item. In some areas, 10% to 20% of the original cost is often standard.

“We have to think about shoppers,” says Cindy Sideler, a professional organizer in Los Angeles. “They don’t go to these things to pay the retail price.”

Advanced Tip: Setting prices doesn’t mean you’re trying to do everything before the crowd arrives. You can use masking tape and Sharpie, but invested $ 8 in a large package of pre-marked pricing stickers ordered online. The three sellers used different colors, which made it easier to track the day of sale. We also raised some changes: quarterly, single, and some larger invoices. How much we started is a matter of controversy. I will explain later.

Put out words

Craigslist is a good place to promote your sale for free, but it’s not the only site. It’s a mistake I made in a garage sale that failed a few years ago, with fewer participants and even lower sales. One of those attendees explained that veteran shoppers would check out sites dedicated to gardens and garage sales. (Search for “Nearby Garage Sale” to see what pops up and offers a free list.)

This time, in addition to some of these sites, we’ve placed ads on Craigslist, Nextdoor, and the Facebook Marketplace. We also used some of our social media accounts to inform local friends about the sale. We also adopted old-fashioned signboards. The bright yellow garage sale sign is scored at a discount store and duct taped at several local intersections with addresses, dates and times that are easy for passing drivers to see.

Also, in the words of Seidra, we sold a “shopping experience.” This meant renting a table or clothes rack from a friend to keep things off the ground, grouping them like items, and finally creating a bundle of items to significantly reduce prices. For example, I scooped up all the remaining crafts in a box and sold the lot for $ 5. (At this point of the day, I didn’t care who the item was who. I just wanted to remove it all from the driveway.)

Our 5-hour sale was a huge success, winning about $ 600. As mentioned above, we didn’t keep track of how much money we brought to the sale, so it’s arguable how much we liquidated. There will definitely be one next time, so I will pay more attention to it next time.

Liz Weston is a NerdWallet columnist, certified financial planner and author of the “Your Credit Score”. Email: lwestonnerdwallet.com. Twitter: Liz Weston.



Liz Weston: How to make it greener at the next garage sale

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